ROSSBURG, Ohio — Tyler Courtney had one goal and one goal only in mind coming into Saturday night‘s 39th running of the 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKT.TV at Eldora Speedway — to win all four divisions.
After running a distant fifth in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature to begin the night, Courtney admitted to having to dig deep to shake off the disappointment heading into the 30-lap USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature.
Once the green flag waved, however, the burning desire immediately rekindled within, which he utilized to blitz from his sixth starting position and into the lead just nine laps from the finish past Logan Seavey.
Courtney prevailed with the victory after the two waged battle down the stretch, sending himself into 4-Crown Nationals history by becoming the first driver to win three consecutive USAC National Sprint Car features in the event.
“It was hard to find motivation after losing the first one,” Courtney admitted. “We came here with one goal in mind and that was to win all four of them. It‘s unfortunate; I really wanted to win four. I‘m more disappointed in myself more than anything. My guys bust their tails to make all three of these cars go fast and make my job easy. I feel like I probably didn‘t quite do my whole job in the midget feature, but I made sure to get every ounce out of it in the sprint car race.”
Courtney‘s sixth career USAC National Sprint Car win at Eldora was the 11th overall of his career at the half-mile dirt oval in USAC competition.
Furthermore, Courtney‘s sixth overall victory at the 4-Crown Nationals made him the third winningest driver in the event‘s history, behind only Jack Hewitt‘s 19 and Dave Darland‘s seven.
He set the tone earlier in the night by recording his 14th career Fatheadz Eyewear fast qualifying time with the series. That positioned Courtney sixth on the grid for the 30-lap main event.
However, it was Chris Windom who picked right up where he left off after wiring all 25 laps to capture the victory in the preceding midget feature. He‘d soon find a familiar foe in Logan Seavey who slotted into second behind him on lap four fresh off a runner-up finish to Windom in said midget main event.
Seavey grabbed the upper hand on lap nine as he cruised through the middle on entry into turn three to glide past the rim-riding Windom. Two laps later, Courtney took the slider line into turn one to drift past Windom, smooching the wall with the right rear tire ever so slightly as he overtook the second position on lap 11.
Next up on Courtney‘s hit parade was the lead. Taking the same slider line into the first turn on lap 13, Courtney carried a tad too much speed, which pulled him straight into the clutches of the wall. The contact was more than a kiss, but just a touch below a slobber knocker, which momentarily lifted his left side wheels off the track surface.
As Courtney wrestled back control, he witnessed his brief tenure up front dissipate to a nine car length deficit. But, anywhere, especially at Eldora, you can‘t count Courtney out. He returned to the fray at the front of the field on lap 17, sliding past Seavey in turn one but was unable to make it stick as Seavey crossed back under.
Ultimately, Courtney stuck to his guns, putting his right rear-tire mere inches from the outside wall, and firing around the wide-open top-lane at wide-open speed, surpassing Seavey for the top spot by a single car length at the stripe at the conclusion of lap 22.
Courtney pulled away down the stretch with Seavey finishing second after leading 13 laps.
Windom finished third, with Justin Grant bouncing back from a flip in practice to drive his backup car to a fourth-place result.
To see full results, turn to the next page.